Members of the Board of Education will hold office hours in an attempt to make themselves more available to the community, the Berkeley Unified School District announced recently. Scroll down to see an interactive map of the locations and schedule.
Julie Sinai, former chief of staff to Mayor Tom Bates and now director of local government and community relations at UC Berkeley, was unanimously appointed to a vacant school board seat on Wednesday night. Sinai emerged from a slate of nine candidates in a quick, non-contentious vote by the four sitting members of the Berkeley Unified School District board.
Fifth grade students from Rosa Parks Elementary School in West Berkeley took home four of the top ten spots in a regional math competition Saturday, besting a field of more than 90 students from public and private elementary schools throughout the Bay Area. Rosa Parks student Ben Roberts took home the top prize, a Kindle Fire HD.
9:10 a.m. That isn’t quite it. As several commenters have pointed out, there are plenty of Berkeley votes still to be counted: most of the absentees, provisional ballots, many vote-by-mail ballots. If turnout is around 2008 levels, it might be another 20,000 votes. Some of the close races — particularly Measure T and rent board seats — could well change. Measure S, with a 1,000 vote margin for the opponents, is less likely to change, but it’s not impossible.
In most years, an incumbent running for school board in a well-regarded school district would be considered a shoo-in. But the storm over the unfilled Berkeley Unified superintendent post jeopardizes Beatriz Leyva-Cutler‘s run for re-election. Leyva-Cutler faces stiff competition from Judy Appel and Tracy Hollander in the race for two open school board seats. A fourth candidate, Norma Harrison, is running a symbolic, non-serious campaign.
Incumbent mayor Tom Bates has raised nearly 70% more than his two most prominent challengers combined, according to the latest campaign filings available through the City Clerk’s election portal. In the first three weeks of October, Bates raised $28,913 taking his total to $84,339. Councilman Kriss Worthington raised $8,459 in the period, bringing his total to $27,489. Jacquelyn McCormick garnered $5,970, for a total this year of $22,480.
It may pale beside President Obama’s $181 million raised in September alone, but local candidates in Berkeley are easily on course for more than a quarter million in fundraising before the November 6 election. Donations in Berkeley are capped at $250 per individual, a limit that has stood since the 1970s.
At the only forum planned for school board candidates before the election, three of the four candidates criticized the existing board’s choice of a Broad Academy graduate as finalist in the superintendent search and committed themselves to an improved process for choosing a new superintendent. The three, incumbent Beatriz Leyva-Cutler, Judy Appel and Tracy Hollander, were diplomatic, but all said Broad Academy policies did not fit in Berkeley.
With Labor Day behind us, elections are moving center stage in Berkeley as well as nationally, as candidates begin to hustle to get their names and messages in the public eye.
The deadline for filing for the Berkeley Unified School District Board ended at 5 p.m. on Wednesday and four candidates will be running for two spots.
Incumbent Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates will face five challengers for his seat in November, while City Councilmember Darryl Moore will have two challengers and Max Anderson and Laurie Capitelli will each have one. City Councilmember Susan Wengraf will run unopposed.
Three months before the November election, City Councilman Laurie Capitelli has amassed the largest campaign war chest in Berkeley, with $13,015 in donations from a variety of people, including his fellow realtors and politicians.
Two weeks after more than 100 people protested against Reverend John Direen outside St. Joseph The Worker Church while he conducted mass inside, Direen disputed many of the accusations leveled against him in an interview with Berkeleyside.